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Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder Paperback – May 1, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Coffee House Press; 1 edition (May 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566892414
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566892414
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.3 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,013,865 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Nichols takes the simple plot of a road trip and turns it upside down and sideways, with the structure more inter-esting than the content. The unnamed narrator writes a series of letters to a Polish woman named Luddie as the nar-rator takes his girlfriend and his grandfather back to the Polish village where The Bombardier as his grandfather was called was shot down during WWII, and where Luddie helped him survive. The three continually tell each other stories the narrator retells to Luddie. Nichols handles beautifully the hidden meanings in old family tales heard a hundred times, but suddenly seen in the light of the casual racism and sexism prevalent in the decades after the war. It's as though a set of nesting dolls exploded into thousands of puzzle pieces that won't quite fit together anymore. One way it seems like the truth and then another detail comes up in another story that changes that truth. Tightly structured, with many repetitive phrases serving as a choral backdrop to the action, the novel often reads like a piece of music that is wonderfully original. (May)
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Review

“A rewarding experience. [Nichols’] sentences repeat and sit inside each other as a sort of Greek chorus that resonates through the book.”—Chicago Sun-Times

“Nichols pulls the readers in . . . with breathtaking immediacy. . . . Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder is both original and haunting.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Nichols handles beautifully the hidden meanings in old family tales heard a hundred times . . . the novel often reads like a piece of music that is wonderfully original.”—Publishers Weekly

“A dramatically off-kilter debut novel about wars and the men who fight them . . . We see the Bombardier, an elderly Rotarian and former mayor of a small Midwestern town, rediscovering his youthful memories. His grandson's bewilderment over what to do about the 9/11 attacks highlights the differences between then and now. There's a lot of meaty material here.”—Kirkus

“Travis Nichols locates the story in history, the pistol in epistolary. This is crushingly great, altogether original debut that reads like an incantation. I dare you to stop reading.”—Ed Park

“This is a beautiful crackpot’s history of America. Travis Nichols takes us on a godly road trip through tobacco, love, and Boom Boom, landing us profoundly still at the world’s loneliest tourist trap. It’s a curious animal version of all those ‘I was looking for’ books because here the animal (the writing) actually changes when it reaches its destination. And happily Off We Go is also a book about a man loving women: ‘A toast,’ I say finally, ‘to the mother's side.’”—Eileen Myles

More About the Author

Born in Iowa in 1979, Travis Nichols now lives in Washington D.C. A former editor at the Poetry Foundation, he now works at Greenpeace. His writing has appeared in The Village Voice, The Believer, Paste, and The Stranger, among other places. He is the author of two poetry collections, Iowa and See Me Improving, as well as two novels, Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder and The More You Ignore Me.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Tessa Rivers on December 10, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book for a class at school, and although I'm usually opposed to mandatory reading for class, I really enjoyed this book. It's written as a series of letters from a grandson to the woman who saved his grandfather's life during WWII in Poland. It's a great read.
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By samurai succotash on August 31, 2011
Format: Paperback
This novel is gorgeous. Rich and rhythmic in music and image. And the way history courses through it is uncanny and moving.
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